Saturday, 15 September 2012

To the farm

A couple of weeks back we had a glorious week in Devon for our family holiday. Note that I say glorious rather than gloriously sunny... It was somewhat damp at times, but very enjoyable nonetheless. We had such a good time that I have to share with you the details - I'd recommend each and every place we visited!

We stayed at Birchill Farm: a group of self-catering cottages on a farm with no less than two cats, two ponies, two donkeys, several sheep, some alpacas, two kune kune pigs, two goats, two pigmy goats and a large number of chickens and ducks! The guy that runs it works his socks off, and every morning all the children staying at the farm joined in with feeding the animals and counting the eggs. I swear he must be Mr Tumble's alter ego - the energy and entertainment factor was amazing. The cottages were great too - high chairs, toddler plates and cutlery and cot all provided, well equipped kitchen, and a great adventure playground split into zones for little people and less little people.

We found something different to do each day and here are the highlights...

Quince Honey Farm is a museum all about the honey making process with the added excitement of being able to see 20-30 working and occupied bee hives, all behind glass (because bee stings hurt) but with magical buttons that opened doors into the hives so you could see exactly what was going on. Once we'd exhausted the museum, we had a spot of lunch on the cafe and through the door into the soft play warehouse. Baby Badger decided she'd outgrown the toddler area so I was nominated to accompany her up ladders, through gaps and down slides with a slightly dodgy moment where she decided to zip round the comedy padded mangle and I had to squeeze myself through it to catch up, bump and all.

Possibly the most bizarre tourist attraction I've ever visited was the Gnome Reserve. Yes, it's what you think it is: lots of garden gnomes. In fact, probably thousands, all posed in a woodland clearing according to themes such as fishing, sports, food, potty time (I kid you not). As part of your entrance fee you are even presented with a selection of gnome hats so that you can visit the gnomes "without embarrassing them". Baby Badger loved every minute, and must have hugged at least 100 of them. Once we were done with the gnomes, we ordered our sandwiches and tea (which were delivered on bone china into the garden) and then we went round the wildflower garden next to the gnome's wood. There was even a treasure trail for finding various plants and counting fairies!

The Big Sheep, which would have won "most bizarre tourist attraction" had we not already been to the gnome reserve, was fabulous. Sheep shearing demos, duck trials where dogs herded the ducks through an obstacle course, a farm safari (aka being pulled around the swampy farm tracks on the back of a tractor to see more animals) and of course feeding the sheep. There was plenty to amuse us and Baby Badger, but I think it would be ideal for primary school age as there were various fun things to do that she was too little and timid for.

The Lynton & Lynmouth cliff railway was a lovely day out. The two villages are at the top and bottom of a cliff with a water-powered cliff railway linking them. The journey is all of five minutes, but fascinating and the views amazing. The two villages are lovely too, and we were subjected treated to an hour of green clad morris dancers while we relaxed on the village green.

We did of course have the obligatory afternoon on the beach, arriving just as the heavens opened but at least there was plenty of room for us!


Friday, 14 September 2012

Pink or blue?

Today was my twenty week scan. It was as expected: late (a 10:40 appointment was never going to be on time) and lots of prodding on a full bladder. An amusing extra was being sent into the corridor to walk around and jump (yes, jump) to see if Badger #2 could be persuaded to turn into a more convenient position.

The main outcome, and the only one I really care about, is that everything looks fine. We had a great sonographer that described everything: pointed out that both bones were present in the lowers legs, explained what she was doing and looking for at every step. It was an education!

And the big question: pink or blue? Anyone that knows me will laugh: Baby Badger was assumed to be a boy for months because I refused to dress her in the customary pink. Badger #2 needn't worry though - he won't be getting all of her hand me downs...
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